Ayurvedic Seasonal Guide: Spring
Spring tends to be fantasized for its blooming flowers, sunshine, and breezy days; however, to get there we need to tend to the muck and guck that is truly the essence of the season. In Ayurveda, Spring is considered Kapha season, where the elements of earth and water are dominate. Ice and snow are melting, rivers are rushing, and there’s an increased warmth and wetness to the atmosphere.
Two guiding principles of Ayurveda are like increases like, and opposites create balance. Spring invites us to thaw out from the winter and eliminate an excess of Kapha accumulated from the highly cold and wet qualities of winter and our heavier diets. Sitting on the couch, hibernating, eating mac and cheese, and watching TV all day is not going to bring us joy and balance as perhaps it did during the winter-time when we needed some of these heavy qualities to support us. Rather, inviting the opposite qualities will better serve us in combating seasonal allergies, congestion, and excess mucus, or lethargy and lack of motivation.
Below are a few of our favorite practices to balance Kapha.
Garshana: Dry brushing has been quite trendy these days, and for good reason. It helps to stimulate the skin and lymphatic system, enhance blood circulation and release accumulated toxins. The problem for most people may be in using a bristle brush. Bristle brushes tend to be rough and uncomfortable on the skin. For some, it may create a leather-like consistency to the skin from sustained use over time. A beautiful option to try instead is the use of garshana gloves. Besides offering a softer alternative to the bristle brush, the gloves can remove static electricity from the skin. Moreover, practicing with garshana gloves encourages a deeper connection to your body as you are using your hands to dry brush.
How to: Perform long strokes on the limbs and circles around the joints and create a large circle up the right and down the left at your belly. Start with the feet and make your way up toward your heart. The direction of the stroke should always be toward your heart as this helps drain the lymph back to your heart. Continue up to your torso and onto your neck, and massage from the hands to the shoulders. Any amount of time you can give this practice is better than none, but we recommend you try and allow yourself the space for five minutes to connect with your body.
Neti and Nasya: The Neti pot is a well-known device to cleanse environmental pollutants and excess mucus. Using a neti pot is a drying practice to balance the heavy, oily qualities of Kapha. To sustain the effects, follow using the neti with nasya oil. Once the nostrils are dry, mucus may come in to try to lubricate the nostrils, but to our detriment. The use of nasya can work as preventative care when it comes to excess mucus and congestion as the body won’t feel the need to do that if it’s already lubricated. Our herbalized Nasya oil is highly nourishing and is great for use after the Neti and in general upkeep.
How to: Use 8oz of purified, warm water with 1⁄4 tsp of non-iodized salt. Place the spout in one nostril as you stand over the bathroom sink or while in the shower and tilt your head slightly to the other side. Do not swallow and breathe through your mouth. Allow the solution to drain from your nose out the opposite nostril. As it runs out, you can blow gently to remove any mucus remaining in your nasal passage. Repeat 2-3 times for each nostril. When finished, bend at the waist and forcefully exhale through both nostrils for a final cleanse. After use of the neti, be sure to lubricate your nasal passages with Farmtrue Nasya or sesame oil. Herbalized oil helps to purify the senses. You can warm the nasya oil by placing in a cup of warm water. Tilt your head back or lay on the edge of a couch or sofa and place 2-4 drops of oil in each nostril and sniff. It is normal to taste the oil in the back of your throat or have some drop out of your nose a minute or two afterward, but you can try to avoid this with a quick, deep sniff.
Shake things up: When we’re in the thick of Kapha season, or Spring, we may feel mentally sluggish, lethargic, depressed, and feel stuck in a rut. One great remedy to find balance is to move this earth and water energy by trying something new. It could be as big as planning a trip to get out of town, or more simplistic like finding a new walking route. Ayurveda teaches us that switching up the foods in your diet during the seasonal transitions is essential as well. Your body should naturally be craving lighter, cleansing foods such as asparagus, arugula, sprouts, berries and lighter grains like millet and quinoa. This is a great time to lighten everything up, reduce or avoid dairy and meats as they can be heavy and difficult for your body to let go of the heaviness of winter. Don’t forget to spice your food to help stoke your digestive fire which is key for strong digestion during this cleansing time.